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As the enemies begin to unite in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one enemy to join the sinister cause is the Russian gangster Aleksei Sytsevich. Stopped and sent packing by Spider-Man early in the film, he returns as a highly mechanized Oscorp invention – the Rhino.
The Rhino was in fact Paul Giamatti’s favorite Marvel character when he was growing up. “He’s just brute force, and a little kid loves that sort of thing,” the actor says, describing the Rhino’s appeal. “You can just destroy everything, go through a brick wall. The Rhino had that great mean face all the time and was cool-looking.”
An appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show in 2011 led to Giamatti being cast as the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. “As a joke, Conan asked me if I could be in one of the Spider-Man movies, what would I want to play, and I said the Rhino,” says Giamatti. “I guess Marc Webb saw it, and when they were coming around to do this one, I met him and he asked, ‘Would you seriously want to play the Rhino?’ It’s such a weird fantasy thing – I feel like I’m seven!”